From “Trust the Process” to “Team to Beat”

As I write this, I have no idea what team Kawhi Leonard will sign with. I also don’t care. I have no doubt that Kawhi would make the Raptors, Lakers, or Clippers a serious contender to win the 2019-2020 NBA title. I also think the Philadelphia 76ers can beat any of them, regardless of where he goes. They’ve assembled that good of a team.

How do you lose a player as good as Jimmy Butler and still get better? You get Josh Richardson for him. You use his cap space on Al Horford. You keep Tobias Harris. You keep Mike Scott. You bring in Kyle O’Quinn. You draft Mattise Thybulle. You get Zhaire Smith back on the court. Of course you go and still lock up Ben Simmons too. Then you bank on Ben and Joel Embiid improving. Are the Sixers complete? No. They still could use a shooter or three, and a back-up point guard. But free agency is not over. Their cap space is not entirely exhausted. And the NBA playoffs are almost a year away yet.

This team is absolutely huge. They will be an absolute terror on defense with their length and defensively inclined bench. Obviously this team will only win if Ben and Joel improve the flaws in their games and stay healthy. There are always “if’s” in sports though. If they pick up a shooter or two, they are as set as a GM can make his team.

So it’s time to move on from a “process” mentality. The time is now. The Bucks and maybe the Raptors (with Kawhi) are certainly threats in the East, and you can argue any number of West teams (especially Golden State, Utah, both LA teams, Portland, and Denver) might be a challenge- but no one is clearly better than Philadelphia anymore. The stars aren’t rookies anymore, they know the core now. The Sixers are now the team to beat. They just have to go prove it now.

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Trust Running It Back?

In a week, the Sixers will face a major challenge to their championship hopes: free agency. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris will be heavily pursued free agents. J.J. Redick will have plenty of opportunities to go elsewhere. Mike Scott and James Ennis will have opportunities to go elsewhere as well. Even Boban Marjanovic could be gone.

The good news for the Sixers is that they don’t come into free agency totally lacking a roster. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are returning All-Stars. First round picks from the last two drafts Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle will be rotational pieces that should provide vast improvements at perimeter defense. Jonah Bolden logged significant minutes in the front court last year and showed flashes. Marial Shayok and Shake Milton could find a home at the end of the bench filling out this roster. That’s not a bad place to start from. Thybulle and Shayok still need to sign contracts, and Milton is heading into the second year of a two-way contract, but the Sixers currently have about $40 million of cap space allocated towards the $109 million cap, and the $132 million luxury tax cap.

The Sixers essentially have three options heading into free agency. The first is the most popular- re-sign their players and run it back. This option requires the Sixers to likely have to offer the five year, $189 million maximum to Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, a hit of about $38 million a year, each. They would likely have to pay J.J. Redick about $12 million to bring him back next season. Scott and Ennis would likely cost the Sixers between $8-12 million (call it $10 million) to run it back too. The team would likely still need to bring in a center/power forward option to back up Joel Embiid, and probably still wants a point guard option off the bench, and possibly another shooter. Adding up just the costs to keep these players, the Sixers would spend $100 million. They would be over the cap, and over the luxury tax too. This would severely limit the size of their exemption usage, and their ability to add anyone in the season. The Sixers absolutely would be a taxpayer under this plan, and probably would be for the foreseeable future, given Ben Simmons looming extension. It’s an option to do this, but it’s one that gives the Sixers minimal flexibility.

Option two is to look outside, and there’s reason to think the Sixers could do this. Players such as Al Horford, Danny Green, Julius Randle, Patrick Beverley, Malcolm Brogdon, Dewayne Dedmon, Kyle O’Quinn, and even Kawhi Leonard have been linked to the team. Obviously Leonard would require a maximum deal, while rumors peg Horford’s cost at around $28 million per year, for four years. The rest of these players would come in at lesser prices, and fulfill different needs. Green could provide a replacement, or at least another option to Redick, depending on cap space. Randle, like Horford, provides another big man to help soften the load on Embiid, while providing starter minutes. Dedmon and O’Quinn would be true back-ups at the four and five. Brogdon and Beverley would help fill out the back court nicely.

Option three is what appears most likely- a combination of the two. It probably starts with re-signing one of their two free agent stars, continues with either bringing back Redick or bringing in Green, and concludes with bringing in a power forward like Horford who can double as Embiid’s playoff back-up. The savings from not super maxing two players are what the Sixers use to fill out some depth on their bench, including a passable point guard, a center to get through the regular season, and hopefully another shooter. This pathway probably also puts the Sixers in the tax, but perhaps not for five years, and perhaps with a deeper roster.

While it’s worth worrying about, I don’t believe the Sixers will strike out altogether. They are simply too close to a championship, in a decent financial situation, and can offer their two stars more money than anyone else. While last Summer’s pursuit of LeBron has probably soured this front office on chasing Kawhi, I can definitely see the Sixers bringing in the pieces they need. With that said, they probably need four to six rotational pieces they could trust in big games, which is a lot. While running it back may be popular, it just might not be feasible under the circumstances.

Playoffadelphia

And now they count.

It’s been 82 games, and if you were wondering, the Sixers won 51 games, just off of last year’s pace. They’re in the same place as last year too, third, and facing an opponent in round one capable of beating them, but not capable of winning a title. It feels rather predictable, not far off of what I would have thought.

Here we are again. The Sixers will take on a Brooklyn Nets team that had some regular season success against them. They are a team that runs a good pick n’ roll offense, which the Sixers struggle with. Like last year, Joel Embiid’s health is in question going into the first round. This year the team comes in experienced instead of not, but playing kind of lackluster instead of hot. Their super talented starting five have played only 10 of 28 possible games together, leading to concerns as well. I’m certain a number of national writers will pick the Nets, as they did with the Heat.

I think they’re going to be wrong though. While I think the Nets will play competitive ball, the Sixers should beat them in five or six games. In fact, if I’m being honest, I think the only series in the East that I’m not sure about is a battle with Toronto in the second round. I think they *can* beat Boston with home court this time, and I think they would eventually wear down Milwaukee over seven games. I do worry a bit about Brett Brown making sure Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris have significant roles against anyone in the post-season, and the Sixers did struggle against the other top three seeds. Most of those struggles were before Harris, and even Butler, arrived.

The Sixers have the best starting lineup in the East. They have steam that can score enough to threaten Golden State. They also could losethis series in six. I’m betting against that though. I’m calling Sixers in six. I actually think a somewhat longer series will be good for them too.

One Month of Christmas, Day 8

Happy Sunday, December 2nd, 2018. There are 23 days until Christmas. I’m on the way home from dropping my sister back at Philadelphia and just listened to the Sixers win their 17th game. #TrustTheProcess.

Here’s tonight’s random thoughts…

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Wild-Eyed Critics Need to Lay Off of Susan

My new Congresswoman, Susan Wild (D-PA-7) has already run afoul of my “friends” (to be read- lunatic Berners) on the Socialist-Left. Congresswoman Wild did join the Progressive Caucus in the House (which to be fair, isn’t as selective as it once was), but that’s not enough for them. They’re angry she joined the New Democratic Coalition Caucus, or as they call it “The Wall Street Dems” conference.

I voted for Susan in the Fall, but have some misgivings. This isn’t one of them. She didn’t run as an anti-capitalist screecher in the primary or general election. She’s not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and never claimed to be. Her joining an ideologically diverse Caucus is not a bad thing.

I’ve appeared on these types of freaks’ radar before, most notably their anti-Bernie hit list in 2017. Susan, keep doing you. You won doing so.

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LOLOhio State

To hear Ohio State fans tell it today, it’s not a big deal to lose to Purdue by 29, or deserve to lose to Maryland, or to win a crappy conference. To hear the Buckeyes fans tell it, they should be the #3 team in the land, over an undefeated Notre Dame. They look and sound ridiculous.

The Big Ten sucked this year. Wisconsin was trash. I love Penn State, but they weren’t that good. Michigan State was terrible. Michigan was a wildly overrated, poorly prepared team, when it mattered. Ohio State has no signature win, really. They won an overrated conference. They lost by 29 to Purdue. Not only are they not better than Notre Dame, they’re not better than Georgia and Oklahoma.

The committee got it right- but it doesn’t matter. Alabama is going to kill any #4 team that gets in.

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I Was a 41 Fan

I liked George H.W. Bush. I liked him as a young kid. I like him now. In 1992, I forced my Clinton supporting parents to get me a Bush-Quayle sign in 1992 (9 year old me believed in supporting the President). I wrote his White House after the 1992 Election, and got back a photo of him at the Grand Canyon.

I grew to appreciate his Presidency more as the years past. I find some of the far-lefty attack articles on him this week to be beneath the dignity of a response. President Bush 41 had plenty of faults. On the whole, I don’t think he’s on the negative side of the ledger though.

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You Like the NFL for the Reasons I Don’t

I watch the NFL for the same reason I watch cop shows- you can’t take your eyes off a wreck. The NFC stinks. With a win, the Eagles could pull within a half-game of the Wild Card. With another win next week, they could lead the division. The Eagles and Cowboys might both make the playoffs, with like nine wins.

I’m sorry, this slop is trash. I like excellence, not parody. I like the longer term rebuilds in MLB and the NBA. This over-night change crap in the NFL is garbage.

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DC Trip 1 Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow I hit the road to DC, my first of two December trips to the nation’s Capitol. I’ll be doing a Georgetown game, meeting with a couple of Chiefs-of-Staff on the Hill, having a Happy Hour, and having some Russia’s best (vodka). I’m also going to try to get to President Bush’s lying in state. Should be a good trip.

One Month of Christmas, Day 2

Good day and Happy Monday, November 26th, 2018. Today is 29 days until Christmas. Here’s today’s random thoughts…

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Our Immigration System Has Been Broken for a Century Plus, but Trump is Creating a National Disgrace

What’s happening at our Southern Border Right Now is a disgrace. Trump sent several thousand troops to the border in a basic political stunt, to pretend he’s getting tough on illegal immigration. The reality? It was a publicity stunt. Now he’s violating American and international law by not allowing asylum seekers to enter our country while their claims are investigated and decided. This is not supposed to be something up for discussion- it’s long-standing law. To make matters worse, he’s literally having us tear-gas people on the Mexican side of the border, for some unknown, indefensible reason. In the ultimate sign that their isn’t intelligent decision making going on here, he might just close some border points altogether, making things inconvenient for Americans who cross the border on the regular.

I’m reminded throughout this mess that we are a nation of immigrants, and that my family has immigrant roots too. My great-grandfather Joseph, from my father’s paternal side of the family, came to the United States with his brother from Poland, immigrants who would not become citizens for years after their arrival. My great-grandmother Julia and her husband, from my father’s maternal side of the family, came to Ellis Island from Czechoslovakia, and also took years of working here and raising a family before getting citizenship. None of these relatives were high-skilled “desirable” workers, in fact some of the family members who came here had been gassed in World War I and were what I would call insane. They were all welcomed here to work though, and they built a life a world away from places in Europe where they no longer felt okay with staying. It’s the best side of America that they were allowed in.

In 1892, Ellis Island began processing immigrants as a port of entry. In 1924, just months after my Great-Grandmother Julia Kravchak arrived from her village of Udol, in present day Slovakia, the Immigration Act of 1924 shut down Ellis Island as an immigration entry processing center, and turned it into a detention center for undocumented immigrants in our country. That law created quotas for immigration, largely racist quotas that favored immigrants from white nations over people from non-white nations (at that time, largely aimed at Asian nations). While the law has been amended since then, these same quota systems have largely survived in American law. They have caused much of the backlog of those waiting for entry from Mexico, Central America, and South America, while making it easier to come from “more desirable” places. Our asylum system, our system of refugees, and our educational visa system have all worked fairly decently though, and have been good for our society and economy. Or, at least they were. Now Donald Trump’s border policy has become to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at families trying to flee violence and oppression. There is nothing to be proud of here. This is our Immigration Act of 1924, except that this time we’re actually being violent.

I’m not arguing that we should have an open border, because I don’t think we should. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t deport criminals, because I think we usually should. I’m arguing we should be a humane people, because I think we always should.

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The Eagles Still Suck

Yes, they won a football game yesterday. Yes, they’re 5-6, and one game out of first place. Yes, three of their final five games are against the two teams in front of them, so they just need to win games to win the division. Yes, someone has to win the division, host a playoff game, and then has the same shot as everyone else in the NFC. With all of that said, the Eagles stink. They have guys literally coming in off the street playing in the defensive secondary. They have no deep threat, aren’t committed to the run, and have a quarterback who still seems just a little bit off this year. Oh, and they’re not as good in the trenches on either side of the ball. And the coaching is worse. 

Who are they really going to beat though? New Orleans? The Rams? Kansas City? The Patriots? The Chargers? Please let me know, because I don’t see a contender they can beat, right now. As a result, my enthusiasm is low.

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Climate Change, Climate Change, Climate Change, and yes, more Climate Change!

I don’t think we can scream loud enough about the U.S. Government’s report on Black Friday the climate change is an imminent problem that will hurt our society across all demographics and income levels. The report, mandated by law across many agencies not only said climate change is real, or that it is man-made, but also that it is dangerous. Of course the Trump Administration tried to release it on Friday of a holiday weekend.

Democrats, but also really any people who care about Earth’s future, need to scream bloody murder about this. I may think less of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Pelosi protest stunt than an outdated can of spam, but she is absolutely right to be calling for a “Green New Deal” right now- Democrats need to latch onto this, party wide. First off, in nakedly politically potent terms, jobs. Second off, we have to move towards a more green economy, now, to avoid disaster. The fact is, there’s no sane argument *not* to move towards a green economy.

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So You Think You’re Smarter Than Your Dog?

This really isn’t a long post here, but let’s dive in here- are you smarter than your dog? Sure, dogs can’t build the intricate society we have, with houses, currency, relationships, and entertainment. On the other hand, who cares? Dogs don’t care about all of that. They like to eat, play a bit, go outside a few times a day, and sleep. In many ways, I envy them.

Today though, I was talking to my dogs and it hit me- when I talk at them, they seem to grasp my language and know what I mean. When they bark at me? I have no idea. So their brains managed to evolve enough to understand another species, but mine didn’t.

Who saved who again?

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Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid are the Best Sports Entertainment in Philly

No, for real, fight me on this. Jimmy Buckets has been here for like two weeks and has two walk-off baskets. Joel Embiid is throwing himself alley-oops off the glass. Embiid is playing like an MVP, leading the league in 30 pt., 10 reb. games so far this year. I realize maybe Ben Simmons isn’t quite leaping forward as hoped, but he’s your third scoring option now- does he need to? Not in November.

And since I know you’ll bring up Markelle Fultz- relax. He’s 20. He should be in college yet. Yes, it’s possible he has a debilitating nerve injury and is shot. Maybe he’s a head case. Or maybe he’s just young, and has been snake-bit by injuries and an impatient fan base. Why trade him now, at pennies on the dollar? Put him on the bench, get him safe minutes, and hope he turns into 70% of what you hoped in a few years.

But for now, just watch The Process and Jimmy Buckets amaze you.

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Run DMC’s “Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens” is a Better Christmas Anthem than Mariah’s Song

Hear me out- I don’t hate Mariah Carey. I don’t even hate her over-played “All I Want For Christmas.”

But the reason for the season is “Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens.” It’s getting overplayed, in NBA and car commercials. But it’s just better, more authentic, and didn’t play to the fantasy land Christmas love story narrative of millions of teens in my generation. They just wanted you to know they loved their mom’s cooking.

And I do too.

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I saw her today at the reception, a glass of wine in her hand. I knew she was gonna meet her connection, at her feet was her footloose man.

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Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. The Rolling Stones- You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  2. Aerosmith- Dream On
  3. Aretha Franklin- R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
  4. Meek Mill- I’mma Boss
  5. Peter Tosh- Legalize It

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The best part of GOTV? Everybody either is slacking off or trying to be the next James Carville. Nobody seems to just stay in their lanes, do their job, and follow directions.

Hence, it’s 11:16pm and I’m writing this.

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Today’s candidate of the day is Rachel Hunt. Rachel is the daughter of a four-term former Governor of North Carolina, a fighter for quality public education, better jobs, and better health care. Rachel wants to make Raleigh work again, for the average people. Donate to help her here. Volunteer here.

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Looking at the Governor’s Mansions, This May be where Democrats make their biggest gains on Tuesday. Despite probably not winning back Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maryland, Democrats are poised for huge victories.

By my count, I favor Democrats in Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada, for a pick up of 9 seats, giving them 25 Governor’s Mansions to 24, with 1 independent. I’m not conceding defeat for Democrats in Georgia, Kansas, South Dakota, and New Hampshire too. It’s going to be a good night for Democrats at the state level.

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Is anyone cooler than Joel Embiid? He had another monster game, with 39 points, 17 boards, and 2 blocks in a win over Detroit. He did so against Andre Drummond, who is actually pretty good. Then he went on social media and dogged Drummond everywhere he could.

The Sixers don’t look like a championship team yet to me, but Embiid looks like he improved- yet again. That’s crazy.

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No feeling bad for Patrick Corbin. The Diamondbacks lefty is about to get paid. With Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels getting 3/$93 million and the option year at $20 million respectively, Corbin would seem to be heading towards $25 million a year and five or six years.

Cheers to that.

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Today was Baconfest up in Easton. I’m not there. It’s safe to say I’m jealous.

5

Well I’m a street walkin’ cheetah, with a heart full of napalm. And I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb. I am the world’s forgotten boy, the one who searches and destroys.

Honey gotta help me please, somebody better save my soul. Baby detonate for me…

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The most cathartic things in political campaigns often have the least actual value. Putting out a yard sign in front of your house shows that guy with the MAGA hat next door that you don’t like Trump, but does it influence votes? Only at the very far margins. Standing outside at the polls feels like you’re battling for votes, but do you change many minds? Maybe one or two in a day. The truth of the matter is that the people at the polls are almost entirely decided voters, and they are 100% likely voters. People with yard signs are 100% decided voters.

This stuff feels great- but it doesn’t win elections. Turning out more voters does. Go knock on their doors.

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I think we’re going to win this time. No, really. I think the wave might just materialize, and not because we ran a perfect midterm as a party, or because message was great, or even because the voters love and agree with us- none of that is true. We’re going to win because our voters are simply more motivated. The anguish of 2016’s defeat galvanized millions into the streets the day after Trump’s (tiny) inauguration, and the energy did not lighten up. Are my sure this incarnation of the Democratic Party can sustain their victories, or even defeat Trump in 2020? Most definitely not. I do think it means we will win in five days.

How did I, a Democratic cynic arrive at this? Part of it is simply history- midterms are bad for the President’s party, period. Other than Clinton’s 1998 (the impeachment election) and Bush’s 2002 (9/11), there really isn’t a record of a President’s party doing well in a midterm.

Part of how I got to this point was also just looking at the sheer volume of races in play. Republicans are defending Senate races in Texas, Congressional races in West Virginia, Governor races in Georgia, and state legislative seats virtually everywhere. Far from continuing their march across the Rust Belt from Trump’s 2016 win, Republicans instead are playing defense, everywhere.

The final piece that lead me to this? It appears to me that the first week or two of early voting across the country was kind of a push, as the most partisan of partisans got out to voice their frustrations with the other side, on both sides. Once those voters got out, it appears to me that Democratic voters stayed motivated, and more kept coming. Republican enthusiasm seems to be slowing, as a national trend.

It ain’t over yet, and Election Day can change everything- but I believe Democrats are heading towards victory.

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Joel Embiid put a 41 spot on the Clippers tonight. While the Sixers are off to a rather mediocre start as a team, Embiid still seems to be growing as a player. By the way, the Sixers young center just played his 100th pro game.

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Tonight’s candidate of the night is Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Florida’s 26th Congressional district. This seat is currently represented by Carlos Curbelo, and includes the Florida Keys and parts of Miami-Dade County. This is one of the closest races in the country.

Curbelo has fashioned himself as a moderate, but it’s important to remember he’s been there for Paul Ryan and Donald Trump when they’ve needed him. Curbelo would be a reliable vote against a Democratic Speaker on health care, wages, taxes, and a host of other key, bread and butter issues. Debbie on the other hand is running to strengthen public education, protect our environment, and make our immigration system fair. She will be a key vote to check the President. Donate to her here. Volunteer here.

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Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Search and Destroy
  2. Oasis- Champagne Supernova
  3. Ja Rule- New York
  4. Elvis Presley- Blue Christmas
  5. Jay Z- Run This Town

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Today’s story of GOTV Past- the South Carolina Primary of 2008. I arrived just after the New Hampshire Primary win for Hillary with very high hopes, but saw them slowly fade away until Barack Obama crushed her in that primary.

It was a fun time though. We turned a hotel in Myrtle Beach into our office and supporter housing. Keyshawn Johnson came to our debate watch party at the Hard Rock. On Election Day, everything felt perfect- and it was, there in Horry County. That ended up being the only county in the state she won.

Five more days.

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People asking me if I’m gonna give my chain back, that’ll be the same day I give the game back, and ya know the next question, yo, yo where Dame at? Let’s start the Indian dance to bring our reign back. What’s up with you and Jay man, are y’all okay man?

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Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. Diamonds from Sierra-Leone- Kanye West
  2. Crazy- Aerosmith
  3. It’s Good to be King- Tom Petty
  4. PSA- Jay Z
  5. Victory- Puff Daddy

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Tonight’s candidate of the night is Donna Shalala. The former HHS Secretary in the Clinton Administration served over a decade as President of the University of Miami. Now she is running for Congress in FL-27.

If Donna doesn’t win, our majority is in doubt. So is winning the White House in 2020. Donate to Donna here. Volunteer here.

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I’ve seen a lot of disgusting negative attacks in my day, and I’m not against negative campaigning, but State Rep. Joe Emrick went to a new low back home. He basically accused Amy Cozze of being a domestic terrorist for putting glitter in a parking ticket envelope. No, seriously. This is so far and away over the top that he should be ashamed.

Donate to Amy here.

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Tonight’s GOTV past story? The 2014 Bonnie Watson Coleman/Cory Booker Central Jersey operation. I’m one of the worst cycles for Democrats in recent memory, we elected the first African-American Congresswoman in New Jersey history, with 61% of the vote. We did so in the whitest district of any member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The memories about this race are numerous and kind of awesome. I remember staying in a hotel room as a team on route 1. I remember figuring out that local committee people liked to hang out in the office at night after we left (we found the beer cans- good choice guys). I loved going between the four counties in the district and feeling like I was in a different world.

I really enjoyed the winning though.

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I love the Sixers young talent, but nothing in the first few games suggests they’ve made the leap from very good to title contender. Tonight’s loss to Toronto is the latest evidence. I’m not saying I’d trade four firsts for Jimmy Butler, but I’m not saying I wouldn’t either.

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We apparently have an O’Keefe style right-wing infiltrator in Mecklenburg County trying to get Democratic operatives, candidates, and activists to say crazy things.

One week. 🙃

11

And then there were 11… pictured above are some hot dogs from JJ’s Red Hots over on East Blvd. in Charlotte. How did I find the place? My sister told me about it. How did she find out? “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives.”

My verdict? I’m a fan.

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Democrats face a lot of structural disadvantages in American legislative elections. There’s money, gerrymandering, voter consistency, and the electorate self-sorting, to name a few. Despite all of that, despite the late-breaking nature of the Kavanaugh confirmation, there seems to be an expectation of Democratic victory in 11 days. I’m struggling to see why?

Yes, Donald Trump is polarizing, but his not-so-hot approval ratings aren’t that crazy off of President Obama’s in 2010- which was a terrible year for Democrats, but see the list above for why things aren’t all created equal. The last big wave in a midterm for Democrats was in 2006, Dubbya’s second midterm, when he was considerably less popular than Trump is today (and the nation was less gerrymandered)- and Democrats nabbed 30 seats. For context, 30 seats would give Democrats a narrow 225-210 majority.

There’s lots of unfounded assumptions about 2018. Don’t assume them.

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My playlist today is all over the place. I’m currently on TLC’s “Waterfalls,” but was just listening to Motörhead. Earlier it was Aerosmith’s “Crazy.” Get out the vote time makes for odd behavior. It makes for even odder musical choices.

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Tonight’s candidate of the night is Congressman Jared Polis. Congressman Polis is the Democratic nominee for Governor of Colorado. If Polis is elected, he’ll be the first openly gay man to serve as Governor. He’d be doing so in a swing state, no less.

Donate here. Volunteer here.

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Tomorrow the Governor is coming down to turf, so in honor of him, I figured I’d do my Governor race projections. There are 36 Governor elections being held in 2018, and the current split of governors is 33-16-1. 26 Republican Governorships are up this year, with 12 being open. Nine Democratic seats are up, and 4 are open. If I were predicting today, the Democrats will hold all nine of their seats, with the toughest races ending up in Colorado and Connecticut. In addition, I would predict Democratic pick-ups in Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, and Nevada, giving Democrats a net gain of eight seats, up to 24. I would predict a narrow loss in Florida, and competitive losses in Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Kansas, New Hampshire, and South Dakota. The split will be 25-24-1, as it stands.

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Early hot takes on ESPN on whether or not the Sixers are still a top three team in the East warm my heart. To be clear, you shouldn’t even consider this until Christmas, but that’s even more clear here. Let’s see if Fultz is growing into the player they hoped by New Year’s, how Zhaire looks when healthy, and if the team can pick up a difference maker via trade. Nothing that happens in October means that much.

Keep Trusting the Process

LeBron to Philly didn’t happen. The truth is, he wanted to live in LA. It doesn’t matter that the Sixers have a better team, and one of the most passionate fan bases in the league, and a great history. It doesn’t matter that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are the most exciting duo in the East. None of that mattered. LeBron wanted to go Hollywood. I guess his wife and kids wanted to be at the beach. That’s really all that mattered here.

All of that is fine. LeBron would have short-term made the Sixers the favorites in the East. The long-term outlook still rides on the development of their young core. If you don’t think Joel Embiid will improve as a presence on the glass, forget it. If you don’t think Ben Simmons will learn to shoot, forget it. If you think Markelle Fultz is a bust, the first two better happen. The Sixers are very young, and should improve. If not? Then signing LeBron wouldn’t have mattered.

The Sixers enter next season really only behind Boston in the Eastern Conference’s elite. They won 52 games and a playoff series in what amounted to the first full season for Joel Embiid, and the actual rookie season for Ben Simmons. They should only get better. You could put the team on auto-pilot right now and predict them to lose the Conference Finals to Boston- which really isn’t that bad this early in their championship window. I obviously don’t believe that’s what will happen, I expect moves to come. They’re in contention to win the conference and they’re going to try to do that.

I’ve pretty much soured on trading for Kawhi Leonard though at this point, and not because I don’t think he’s great (he’s top five in the game for sure). Getting Kawhi on a one year rental, when he seems intent on getting to LA, when the team would only be a coin flip to win the East then, and a huge underdog against Golden State still, seems like it might not be enough of a reason to trade the likes of Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Markelle Fultz, and multiple picks. Yes, if he left the Sixers would have close to $50 million in cap space to use, and could recover, but it would still be quite a hit, for the potential of marginally better results. The Sixers may do just as well with what they have.

LeBron will languish in the West with the headache of Lonzo Ball, the expectations of an impatient fan base, and the inability to beat Golden State. At this point, we probably won’t ever see him in an NBA Final again, so it’s time we just forget about him. The path forward for the Sixers to become a championship contender is right in front of them. Look for opportunities to bring in a star to grow with the young core, and develop the young core. Add pieces that make sense.

Basically, Trust The Process.